SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — There is something missing from Terrace Park in Sioux Falls. Thieves stole a plaque commemorating a house and the woman many think of as the mother of Sioux Falls. Now, a neighbor who helped install the plaque two years ago is offering a reward.
Aaron Skonhovd grew up in Sioux Falls and has many fond memories of Terrace Park. He owns a house across the street and like many of his neighbors is proud and protective of the park.
The park is part of the old Phillips estate. The 3-story house towers over the city. It was built in 1883 by Hattie Phillips for the then staggering amount of $50,000.
“She built it for the community for people to come in us it for civic groups women’s meetings it was literally open for everyone,” said Skonhovd.
When you come out to the park and you see this stone fence if you look at the end right here this is where it was connected to the old Phillips house.
The house was demolished in the mid-’60s, but knowing the history, Skonhovd wanted to make sure others knew about the home and its owner.
“Hattie Phillips was the mother of Sioux Falls and I thought it was an important thing to tell that before this park was a park it was her home and her house was here and I wanted to tell that story of what she did with the house, it was a community house,” said Skonhovd.
Skonhovd organized the production of a cast aluminum plaque touting the history of the Phillips House.
One day while walking his dog he noticed the plaque was missing.
“And my heart just sunk in my chest, I was like, it’s gone”, said Skonhovd
The thieves twisted the plaque off its metal pole and took it.
Aaron is offering a $250 reward to anyone who can tell him what happened to it.
“We all make mistakes and if you have it in your garage I’ll come pick it up, if you threw it down in the lake I will go fish it out if it’s somewhere else just let me know where it is, I will give you the reward money if it’s returned. That’s all I can say is we just want our plaque back,” said Skonhovd.
Neighbors are offering a $250 reward for the return of the 70-pound aluminum plaque. A new one will cost more than$2,000. The Terrace Park Neighborhood group on Facebook has started a fundraiser and will try to buy one at the end of the summer if the old plaque isn’t returned.
the replacement will be welded in place.